Lakers’ training camp opens in 15 days and, with Monday’s signing of Robert Upshaw to a two-year contract, there’s no better time than now to provide an update on the team’s roster. As it stands the Lakers now have 18 players under contract:
- Point Guard: D’Angelo Russell, Marcelo Huertas*
- Shooting Guard: Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams, Jabari Brown*, Michael Frazier**
- Small Forward: Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Anthony Brown
- Power Forward: Julius Randle, Brandon Bass, Ryan Kelly, Larry Nance Jr., Jonathan Holmes**
- Center: Roy Hibbert, Tarik Black*, Robert Sacre, Robert Upshaw**
The Lakers can carry up to 20 players in camp. There are consistent rumors that Metta World Peace might still receive an invite to camp, though, if you listen to MWP, no substantive talks have occurred to bring him back to the team. From Mitch Abramson of the NY Daily News:
But World Peace told the Daily News that he and Kupchak haven’t talked about his return yet.
“Me and Mitch have a cool relationship but we have not talked about me coming back to the Lakers,” World Peace told the News. “I call Mitch about other things. We just have a good relationship. Whether I come to the Lakers or not, me and Mitch would still be cool.”
This could just be posturing by MWP, but based on Mitch Kupchak saying the exact same thing in an update last week, I’d lean towards them actually not discussing his return. This doesn’t rule out a return, though, since there is still plenty of time before camp to make it happen.
My gut tells me he only comes back to the Lakers with some sort of guarantee he’d make the actual roster, but I have my doubts the Lakers would be willing to offer up that type of commitment. Even if the veteran could provide some valuable mentoring and leadership to a young, rebuilding team.
All in all, though, the team’s camp looks like it will be competitive with a deep contingent of young players looking to make their mark on the league. Balance that against a nice core of veteran players and the team will have some interesting decisions to make regarding the final makeup of the roster in advance of the regular season.
*Denotes a player on a fully non-guaranteed contract
**Denotes a player on a partially guaranteed contract
From the above list, I see Ryan Kelly as being very much on the bubble with 5 PFs currently on the team. The Lakers could simply, I would think, buy out his contract (if that’s do-able).
The following players will probably open the season on the D-League: Robert Upshaw, Michael Frazier, and Jonathan Holmes. I expect Jabari Brown to make the team even though he may not be a part of the rotation. Huertas, I feel certain, will make the team. I think that he will prove to be a valuable addition over time. In fact, don’t be surprised if D’Angelo Russell struggles a bit initially and Huertas ends up starting some games. That could happen. After all, considering that Huertas sliced up the US Olympics team with 13 assists a few years ago, his starting and/or playing significant minutes would not necessarily be a bad thing.
This is an interesting roster with a mix of (very) young players and established veterans. The more I look at the roster, the more difficult it will be to predict the team’s performance this year (although I’m sticking with my prediction of 32 wins).
But one reality remains: this year is all about the development of our young players. That must be the Lakers’ number one priority. That does not change.
P.S. Given all of the above, I do not see room for MWP on this squad (unless Swaggy P suddenly vaporizes into ether).
But think about the mentoring options:
If the Vets looked at the season as teach/show and then make the kids do a lot of the heavy lifting…
MWP: I think it will be for the best if he is NOT on the roster. That said – I still can’t believe how many are jumping on the campaign to make him a coach. I love the guy and we owe a ring to him, but a coach? Should we make Lamar a coach as well?
Mid-W: “(unless Swaggy P suddenly vaporizes into ether).” Was today the first step in that?
Ano (11:16 AM couple threads back): Wow – to say I agree with your post would be an understatement. I mean you even used the word “youngsters” to describe our three up and comers.
Robert, that Anon post was mine.
Whoever think MWP is coach material must be out of his damn mind. Seriously…
– Your depth chart listing Kobe @ sf as opposed to sg would lead one to believe you feel he’ll play that position most of the time..s/b interesting
– Four guys listed at center, and we all know Sacre is horrible. What would it mean if this guy still makes the team?
My 15 players for next season…
PG::: RUSSELL*, HUERTAS
SG::: CLARKSON*, WILLIAMS*, J. BROWN*
SF::: BRYANT*, YOUNG*, A. BROWN, HOLMES*
PF::: RANDLE*, BASS, NANCE junior*
C::: HIBBERT, UPSHAW, BLACK*
(*players that can play two or more positions!)
There’s a lot of rotation possibilities with these group of guys! I MEAN A LOT!!! Would love to see that happen! Let that season finally begin!
Robert Fisher says
Interesting item in the post one above this. All five listed as PG or SG are actually combo guards.
Kobe and Young can play both SG and SF.
I am also curious about Randle and Nance at SF.
Once Upshaw can hold the backup center, then Black could move to PF which is more suited to his size.
It might be interesting to see a young core develop of Russell, Clarkson, Randle, Black, and Upshaw.